The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather


    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower


    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships


    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

21 hours ago

7 Things: Breonna Taylor decision causes late-night chaos in Louisville, absentee ballots come in large numbers, former Speaker Hubbard seeks a lighter sentence and more …


7. Pro-life group gathered to promote equality

  • Together in Montgomery, black pro-life group leaders, including Dr. Alveda King, discussed the racial issues surrounding abortion and argued that ending abortion is a necessary step in civil rights.
  • They signed the Equality Proclamation, which says that Planned Parenthood and other abortion provider locations are racially discriminatory. According to a document by the group, “the targeted practices of Alabama abortion providers are both discriminatory and disproportionately harmful to black mothers and their babies.”

6. UAB professor said something dumb on Twitter


  • An archeology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Sarah Parcak, took to Twitter after the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to say that she was “stronger in her mid 80’s than any M*AGA f*ckstick bootlicker could ever dream of.”
  • UAB has said that she showed “poor judgement” and have condemned her comments, adding that they “do not represent the opinions of our university.” The university added, “Our 45,000+ students, faculty, and staff often use social media to express thoughts that do not necessarily reflect the voice of the university.”

5. Hubbard’s request opposed

  • After being sentenced on 12 ethics violations, even though only six of those charges stuck, former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has requested that his sentence be reduced, but Attorney General Steve Marshall is opposing this request.
  • Marshall’s office advised, “Hubbard is not being punished for his reversed convictions. He is being punished for the crimes of which he remains convicted.” Hubbard’s attorneys have argued that Hubbard has already been punished in multiple ways, including being removed from office.

4. Hunter Biden report released

  • The report on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden has been released. The report focuses on his dealings with Ukraine. U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led the investigation into Hunter’s dealings with Burisma Holdings, and his position with the company was described as “problematic.” They also assert that the Obama administration was aware of this.
  • The summary of the report says that “officials within the Obama administration ignored the glaring warning signs when the vice president’s son joined the board.” Records have been obtained from the U.S. Treasury Department that show “potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals.”

3. Vaccine entering final study

  • The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is entering a final study of 60,000 volunteers to try and prove if the vaccine can work in just one dose instead of two. The vaccine is being tested in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Peru, Mexico and Colombia.
  • Director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Anthony Fauci has insisted that corners aren’t being cut, saying that they’re doing “everything we can without sacrificing safety or efficacy … to make sure that we end up with vaccines that are going to save lives.”

2. 16,000 ballots received so far

  • Absentee ballots are flowing into the Secretary of State’s office as the state expects more votes to come in early than ever before, but this could leave to some issues nationwide on Election Day.
  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said that 74,000+ absentee ballot applications have been sent in during the last 18 days and 16,000 of these ballots have already been returned to the Secretary of State’s office.

1. Decision in Breonna Taylor case announced, violence ensues

  • As announced by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, former Officer Brett Hankison has been indicted by a grand jury on three counts of wanton endangerment due to him shooting into other apartments on the night of Breonna Taylor’s death. No other officers have been charged.
  • Overnight, at least two officers were shot as “Burn Louisville” and “Amerikkka” trended on Twitter. The national media sought to stoke the false fires of social injustice for their own gain and to the detriment of the cities involved as the media claims they are “mostly peaceful.”

2 days ago

7 Things: Tuberville up big, high school football takes a few more hits, Democrats powerless to stop Trump’s SCOTUS nominee and more …


7. Debate topics announced

  • Fox News host Chris Wallace will be moderating the upcoming presidential debate in just under one week, and he’s now announced what the topics of the debate will be in six 15-minute segments.
  • The topics will be the Supreme Court, coronavirus pandemic, economy, “race and violence in our cities,” “integrity of the election,” and both former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump’s records.

6. Another push to exclude illegal immigrants from the Census count


  • President Donald Trump has been vocal about excluding illegal immigrants from the 2020 U.S. Census count, and now due to a lower court ruling, the Trump administration is asking that the Supreme Court hear arguments before the end of the year over the case.
  • If the Supreme Court agrees and hears oral arguments on the case in December, there’s enough time for a ruling before the January 10 deadline, but this could potentially be enough time for the new Trump Supreme Court nominee to weigh in on the issue.

5. Tests being sent to HBCUs

  • President Donald Trump’s administration has announced that they are sending 250,000 rapid coronavirus tests to 42 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). These are the tests that give results in 15 minutes. This is just the first round of tests being sent out, and Alabama A&M in Huntsville and Alabama State University in Montgomery will be receiving thousands of tests in the first round.
  • A spokesperson for Alabama A&M said that testing has been a big part of returning to school this fall, adding, “This partnership with the federal government, in conjunction with the University’s PCR testing program, will greatly speed up our ability to identify, isolate, and reduce the symptomatic and asymptomatic spread of COVID019 on campus.”

4. Gulf Shores became more popular during the pandemic

  • Recent figures released by Airbnb show that the Gulf Coast in Alabama was a more popular destination than Miami, Florida, from July to August this year. The company has also said that this is a trend being seen around the country, where more people are opting to stay in smaller cities or towns than larger, typical destinations. For example, more people visited Lake Tahoe this year than Las Vegas.
  • Since you can rent up to a whole house, people have also been able to extend their stays in areas, too. The average length of stay has increased by 58%, which could easily be due to the requirement to isolate in many areas upon arrival.

3. Football taking a hit during the pandemic

  • Two Alabama high school football teams have decided to shut down for at least a week due to positive coronavirus cases. Hazel Green is stopping for two weeks with three positive tests, and Wetumpka is stopping football for one week after 12 positive tests. Fifteen players in Hazel Green are quarantined, and aside from the 12 positive cases in Wetumpka, there are eight players quarantining.
  • There are three other high schools that have also canceled football games, with Lee in Huntsville forfeiting their Friday game this week, with only one person associated with the team testing positive and 10 people in quarantine. Jacksonville has had one football player test positive, so they’ve canceled their games for the next two weeks. Mortimer Jordan has also canceled their game this week after at least one positive test.

2. Romney will support voting on a Supreme Court nominee

  • Democrats are now powerless to stop President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee now that U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has voiced support on moving ahead with whoever President Donald Trump decides to nominate for the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacant seat left by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • Romney said that his decision “is not the result of a subjective test of ‘fairness’” and added that it’s about “fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent.” He went on to say if the nominee eventually “reaches the Senate floor,” he intends “to vote based upon their qualifications.”

1. Tuberville is up in Alabama

  • New polling data released by the Morning Consult, which is from a survey conducted from 9/11-9/20, shows that former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville is leading in Alabama at 52% with U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) trailing at 34%, which is similar data that’s been released previously.
  • In other Senate elections across the country, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is leading against Amy McGrath 52% to 37%. In Texas, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is leading by six points with 45% against MJ Hegar with 39%.

3 days ago

Three takeaways from Auburn’s 2020 depth chart


At long last, it is game week for the Auburn Tigers. Auburn and Kentucky will kick off this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. on the SEC Network. In advance of the contest, head coach Gus Malzahn released Auburn’s week one depth chart on Tuesday. A number of questions that Auburn fans may have are directly addressed with this new information. However, the news on the depth chart may also raise a few eyebrows in relation to the defensive line and secondary, specifically.

Undoubtedly, players will move up or down the depth chart over the course of the season based on quality of play, injury, COVID-19 protocol or weekly changes to the gameplan. But, the initial depth chart gives fans insight into who some of the impact players for Auburn in 2020 will be.

Let’s take a look at three key takeaways from Auburn’s 2020 depth chart:


New-look offensive line
Coming into the season, it was known that Auburn would have a number of new faces on the offensive line after graduating four of the five starters from last year’s group. The new depth chart now gives clarity to who the Tigers expect to make up the unit in 2020.

Nick Brahms is the only returning starter and retains his spot at the center position. The starters at guard are Tashawn Manning and graduate transfer Brandon Council, respectively. As expected, Brodarious Hamm has earned the starting slot at the right tackle position. The only ambiguity in the offensive line position group is at left tackle with Alec Jackson OR Austin Troxell listed as the starter. This indicates that Auburn considers these six players the top options for the five available spots.

It will be critical this season that all six “starters” and the guys listed second or third on the depth chart are ready to perform this year at a position that is often affected by injury and could always have players unavailable due to COVID-19. It was widely known that the success of the offensive line would be key to Auburn having a productive offense this year, we now know the individuals who have earned the first chance to make that happen.

18 true freshmen make an appearance

Although no true freshmen are listed as first-teamers, these young players are littered throughout the Auburn depth chart. Seven newcomers appear on the offensive side of the ball, 10 freshmen made the depth chart on defense and Australian import Oscar Chapman is listed as the potential starter at punter.

This is an impressive showing from the 2020 signing class and may signal great things to come for Auburn. Having quality depth is always important, but this year with a 10-game conference-only schedule, no spring practice and contact tracing procedures that could sideline players by the handful, many of these young men will be called upon in the here and now.

Only time will tell which of these players’ impacts will shape the Tigers’ season this fall, but history tells us that these young athletes will be called upon to deliver in high leverage moments this year. Whether or not they are up to the challenge is likely to determine the outcome of some games and even the season itself.

Surprises on the defensive side of the ball

Kevin Steele’s side of the ball has been one of the most consistent units in college football since his arrival in 2016. He and his staff have developed a clear plan of attack, a successful way of working together and an eye for players that fit the scheme. So, even if there are some shocks, Steele has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt.

One of the surprises is the starting cornerback opposite of Roger McCreary. Last week, Steele indicated that there were up to five players competing for that position, so it is not a complete shock that redshirt freshman Jaylin Simpson earned the starting spot against Kentucky. However, many would have guessed that Marco Domio, who was just signed from junior college, or Nehemiah Pritchett would be the last man standing in the competition. Simpson does not have much experience, but if Steele and company trust him to get the job done, then that is a pretty good endorsement.

The most unforeseen developments on the depth chart occur on the defensive line. Colby Wooden starting at defensive tackle is not something that has been discussed anywhere until today. Kevin Steele spoke highly of Wooden last week in his press conference, but the redshirt freshman who signed as a defensive end last year earning the tackle spot next to Tyrone Truesdell was still pretty shocking.

Another unexpected outcome is that four true freshmen are listed on the defensive line depth chart, including Jeremiah Wright, who signed as an offensive lineman in December. Seeing Zykevious Walker listed at defensive tackle ahead of the two junior college defensive linemen that Rodney Garner signed in January may also catch fans off guard.

Coach Garner and coach Steele have a proven track record of getting defensive linemen ready to play in the SEC, but it may just be that the athletes getting the most opportunities in the trenches this year are a little more green than we are used to seeing.

Bonus takeaway

How about Shaun Shivers? Listed at only 5-7 and 179 lbs, Shivers earned the starting spot at tailback and was named one of the team captains. I am a little bit skeptical that Shivers will be an every-down back, but what an accomplishment for a guy who has been doubted because of his size throughout his entire career.

See the whole depth chart:

Twitter/ @byNathanKing

Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: or on Twitter @z_m_shaw

3 days ago

7 Things: Trump appears to have the votes for his SCOTUS pick, Jones is against packing the court, Tuberville willing to forgo his pay if elected and more …


7. CDC unsure about coronavirus aerosol transmission

  • While the number of coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations are down nationally, the CDC has released and then revoked the findings that the virus may be more of an aerosol than was thought and that wider restrictions might be needed.
  • The guidance, now removed, included increasing social distancing beyond six feet, increasing where masks are worn and new suggestions about ventilation and filtration, which would throw a slowly reopening society for a loop.

6. Anarchist jurisdictions declared


  • New York, Seattle and Portland have been deemed “anarchist jurisdictions” by the Department of Justice, due to the riots and protests that caused damage and violence across the cities.
  • U.S. Attorney General William Barr said, “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance.” He also expressed that he hopes cities decide to regain order in their areas and “become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”

5. Former State Sen. Burkette pleads guilty

  • As was expected, former State Senator David Burkette (D-Montgomery) has pleaded guilty to violating a campaign finance law, in which he admitted to depositing $3,625 of campaign funds into a personal bank account.
  • Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said, “Personally profiting from campaign funds erodes confidence in the system and will not be tolerated.” Burkette has been sentenced to 12 months of probation and will pay a $3,000 fine.

4. Bus driver in Madison County tests positive

  • In the Madison County School system, a bus driver has tested positive for the coronavirus, and parents have been notified of the situation.
  • Students and drivers all wear masks on the school bus, and students have to keep a distance of six feet between each other.

3. Tuberville highlights support for veterans

  • In a new campaign ad, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville touted his father’s World War II military service and adds at the end that he’ll “donate my salary to the veterans of the great state of Alabama” if elected to the U.S. Senate.
  • In the short ad, Tuberville also says that “anyone who burns this flag should go to prison,” aligning with President Donald Trump.

2. Jones doesn’t support packing the court

  • During a Facebook live event hosted by U.S. Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) reelection campaign, Alabama’s junior senator discussed the idea of “packing the court” where Congress would pass legislation to add more U.S. Supreme Court Justices as a way to appoint more liberal judges. Theoretically, this is possible, but Jones made it clear that he doesn’t “agree” with this action.
  • He explained that he doesn’t “believe in retaliatory measures. I just think that is crazy.” He also spoke about how this would work against the U.S. Constitution’s system of checks and balances, saying, “[W]e’ve had nine folks on the Supreme Court since 1869, I believe. And it’s worked out pretty well over the years…I just don’t think that people should start trying to threaten or do retaliation measures like that.”

1. Trump might have the votes for his SCOTUS pick

  • While President Trump has not named his new pick for the Supreme Court, it appears he does have the votes to proceed with the confirmation process as U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) publicly state that they will consider the merits of the person nominated and not rule out a confirmation as U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have done.
  • President Donald Trump has already said he’ll nominate a conservative woman for the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With those two factors, the list of potential nominees has narrowed significantly.

4 days ago

7 Things: RBG replacement fight looms, Jones pledges to stop Trump, no Labor Day coronavirus spike and more …


7. Tuberville holding a fundraiser in Florida

  • Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville has been criticized throughout his campaign for U.S. Senate about how he moved from Florida to Alabama just to run for office, and now he’s holding a fundraiser in Florida. 
  • Monday, Tuberville will be holding a campaign fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. The Alabama Democratic Party executive director said this decision makes sense as it’s Tuberville’s “home state,” adding that “he still doesn’t understand the kitchen table issues that matter to Alabamians.”

6. Envelope to Trump contained ricin


  • A letter to President Donald Trump and the White House is being investigated after it tested positive for the poison ricin. 
  • The FBI said that there’s “no known threat to public safety.” The FBI will be joined by the Secret Service and the U.S Postal Investigation Service in the investigation. 

5. Hurricane Sally cleanup could cost $19 million for Mobile

  • It’s been estimated that the cost of cleaning up after Hurricane Sally could cost $19 million, according to the Mobile County Emergency Management. 
  • This estimate just includes what local areas are likely to spend on road and bridge repair, utilities and debris removal. The final cost is expected to be higher. 

4. No coronavirus spike since Labor Day

  • Alabama health officials were concerned that Alabama could see a spike in coronavirus cases after the Labor Day holiday, similar to spikes seen after Memorial Day and Independence Day. 
  • Thankfully, there hasn’t been a spike in coronavirus cases after almost two weeks, as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have leveled out and slowly declined throughout the state. 

3. Ruth Bader Ginsburg passes

  • At 87-years-old, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away after a battle with pancreas cancer. She was the second woman ever appointed to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. 
  • In a released statement by U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), he spoke about her career and legacy, saying that “she inspired generations of young women to reach for heights that previously felt impossible.” U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville spoke similarly of Ginsburg, stating, “She fought hard for her beliefs and carried the respect of her fellow justices, liberal and conservative alike.”

2. Jones fundraising email mentions Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  • After the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) reelection campaign sent out a fundraising email over the weekend that mentioned RBG’s passing. 
  • In the email, Jones says that he’s “saddened” by how her death has been politicized by President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). He goes on to warn, “So much depends on this Senate seat. Our win in November will be a defeat of Mitch McConnell’s hypocrisy and cynicism.”

1. President Donald Trump promises to nominate a woman to SCOTUS

  • After the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, many are questioning who President Donald Trump will nominate to take RGB’s place on the court. 
  • Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign has released a statement detailing that the president will nominate a woman. Communications director Tim Murtaugh clarified that Trump has every right to make this nomination, arguing, “There has been an open seat on the Supreme Court in a presidential election year 29 times in American history, and in every single case, the president has nominated a candidate.”

5 days ago

VIDEO: Gov. Kay Ivey signals no end to mask order in sight, media trolling for Tuberville dirt, State Rep. Mike Ball appears to regret vote on Alabama Memorial Preservation Act and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Are we really looking at wearing masks in Alabama well into 2021?

— Did Sports Illustrated attempt to dig up dirt with Tommy Tuberville’s former players as part of an October surprise?

— Does State Representative Mike Ball’s shift on the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act signify a notable shift in the Alabama Republican Party?


Jackson and Handback are joined by Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) to discuss Confederate monuments, prison reform, the Jones/Tuberville race and 2020.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” aimed at those who refuse to accept that President Donald Trump’s peace deals in the Middle East are a good thing.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.

7 days ago

7 Things: Vaccine skepticism grips nation, UA hunts silent outbreaks, Alabama’s initial unemployment claims are steady and more …


7. Alabama’s richest man kidnapped

  • The retired CEO of EBSCO Industries, Elton B. Stephens, Jr,, with a family net worth of $4 billion dollars was kidnapped and held for ransom one week ago, but he is now back home after the arrest of two people involved in the caper.
  • Matthew Amos Burke, 34, and Tabatha Nicole Hodges, 33, broke into Stephen’s house allegedly stealing jewelry and three firearms before waking the home’s occupant. They took him to a trailer in St. Clair County and forced him to wire $250,000 into their account before releasing him.

6. Antifa is real


  • FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee and said, “Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a group or an organization. It’s a movement, or an ideology may be one way of thinking of it.” He went on to say that some of their investigations have been into situations with people who identify as Antifa.
  • During his testimony, he also confirmed where domestic terrorism threats are concerned. He outlined, “[R]acially motivated violent extremism is, I think, the biggest bucket within that larger group. And within the racially motivated violent extremist bucket, people subscribing to some kind of white supremacist-type ideology is certainly the biggest chunk of that.”

5. A child abuser was released through bail program promoted by Harris and Biden

  • The Minnesota Freedom Fund was promoted by staffers for former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), and one of the men released by the bail fund was a child abuser.
  • The man in question, Timothy Wayne Columbus, was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct for a sexual assault on an eight-year-old in 2015, and when he was bailed out of jail, he filed it through the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

4. Dems think they can push Biden to be more progressive

  • While in an interview with “Just the News,” U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke about the difference between U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden, mostly noting the difference in how “progressive” they are.
  • Ocasio-Cortez honestly stated that she believes more progressive members “can likely push Vice President Biden to a more progressive direction across policy issues,” specifically mentioning foreign policy and immigration.

3. Unemployment remains steady

  • For the last couple of weeks, initial unemployment claims in Alabama have remained mostly unchanged, according to a new report by the Alabama Labor Department. There has only been a decrease of 54 claims week-to-week.
  • From this past week, there were 8,848 initial claims, but in the week previous there were 8,902 initial claims, which is only a 0.6% decrease. However, 4,485 of the most recent claims were due to the coronavirus pandemic.

2. Alabama tweaks its testing strategy

  • The University of Alabama continues to be bullish on the school’s response to the coronavirus, so much so that Chancellor Finis St. John says the school is testing a sampling of asymptomatic students, teachers and staffers to seek out silent outbreaks and have only found three positive tests out of 400+ tests of that sample.
  • Echoing the situation with Big Ten football and the SEC, St. John was happy that Alabama stayed the course, saying they “trusted our plan and our people and had the courage to see it through.” He pointed out that schools that canceled or delayed in-person learning before the semester started or soon after returning may have jumped the gun.

1. Majority of people won’t trust a vaccine released before the election

  • A new Economist/YouGov poll shows that 59% of people wouldn’t trust a coronavirus vaccine released before the general election on November 3, due to safety and efficacy concerns.
  • Even 50% of Republicans say they wouldn’t trust a vaccine released before the election, and only 39% of people plan to get vaccinated when it’s available. According to the poll, 72% of participants said they’re concerned about the safety of the vaccine.

7 days ago

What impact will Chad Morris have on the Auburn offense in 2020?

(Auburn Football/Twitter, YHN)

Gus Malzahn and Chad Morris’ relationship stretches back decades at this point. When Morris was hired, he told the story of badgering Malzahn for information on his innovative offensive style multiple times until finally wearing him down into sharing some secrets when they were high school coaches in Texas and Arkansas, respectively.

Those early interactions paved the way to a friendship between two men that would eventually walk many of the same roads from coaching in high school to the SEC.

When Morris was let go as Arkansas’ head coach in 2019, it did not take long for the two friends to decide to work together in 2020. In a normal offseason the biggest story for Auburn football would have been the hiring of Chad Morris as offensive coordinator. Clearly, 2020 has been nowhere near normal.


Today, we take a deeper look at potential impacts the new hire could have on The Plains this season. Morris’ input in the following three areas could unlock the Auburn offense’s full potential this year.

Passing Game
Gus Malzahn-led teams rarely have real issues running the football. The Auburn Tigers have run the ball more frequently and effectively than most teams in the country during Malzahn’s tenure. The aspect of the offense that often struggles to find consistency has been the passing game.

While Chad Morris patterned his offensive style directly after Malzahn, in the past decade he has had more production throwing the ball than his current head coach. It appears that Chad Morris simply likes to throw the ball more than Malzahn. In the 10 seasons that Morris has been a college coach, his offenses have attempted at least 34 pass attempts a game nine times. Malzahn, on the other hand, has never had a season where his team attempted more than 30 passes per game.

Beyond a sheer disparity in volume, there is also a difference in the kind of passes that the offenses frequently attempt. Chad Morris was a much earlier adopter of the RPO (run-pass option) and also tends to have more passes target the middle of the field. Malzahn’s passing game has been primarily based around deep shots off play action or various screens that attack the perimeter quickly.

All of those passing schemes (and more) are effective when called cleverly and executed properly. It will likely be an indication of Morris’ involvement if the Tigers average somewhere near 35 pass attempts per game with more targets happening over the middle of the field this season.

When referencing personnel, we are simply pointing out the grouping of players on the field and how they are deployed on a given play. Gus Malzahn tends to favor two backs (tailback and H-back) and three receivers. Chad Morris on the other hand, has deployed one tailback, one tight end and three receivers as his most common grouping.

The use of an H-back versus a tight end may seem small, but it can lead to pretty significant differences in the choices that opposing defenses make to counter an offense. Some tight ends and H-backs are interchangeable, which can be a strength if used creatively. However, most H-backs are primarily blockers (like an I-formation fullback), whereas tight ends are valuable targets over the middle of the field in the passing game and valuable blockers on the edge in the running attack.

For example, last season at Arkansas, TE Cheyene O’Grady accounted for 33 catches for 372 yards along with three touchdown receptions in only seven games played. By contrast, Auburn’s John Samuel Shenker and Harold Joiner combined for nine catches, 129 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games last season.

Chad Morris’ history of using the tight end along with a renewed focus on recruiting the tight end position my signal more use of that position going forward. Expect to see a continuation of the use of an H-back, but a dramatic uptick in the use of the tight end position could point to Chad Morris exerting his influence on the gameplan.

Auburn fans are likely familiar with the fact that Gus Malzahn literally wrote the book on the hurry up no huddle offense. Clearly, the use of pace was one of the key factors in Malzahn’s rise as coach, and it continues to be a weapon today.

However, last week when Chad Morris addressed the media, he seemed to indicate a slightly different take on how an offense’s pace of play should be used in today’s game. In Morris’ opinion, it is now less important to snap the ball as quickly as possible every play than it is to be able to change the speed of play effectively.

Morris conveyed that he hopes to use versatile players that are able to line up in different places and perform multiple skills so that when Auburn gains an advantage in matchups, the offense can then speed up to require the defense to remain on the field and at a disadvantage.

It will be interesting to see if a revamped passing game, new personnel groupings, varied pace or any other noticeable wrinkles, coincide with Chad Morris’ arrival on The Plains this fall.

Auburn’s offense must take the next step to being a consistently explosive group this year to contend for the SEC championship. If Morris can facilitate that production, then the Tigers will have a chance to make the 2020 season one that Auburn fans remember fondly for years to come.

Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: or on Twitter @z_m_shaw

1 week ago

7 Things: Hurricane Sally’s damage is unveiled, general public may not have vaccine until late 2021, 16th Street bombing victim wants restitution and more …


7. B1G football will play

  • The Big Ten will start their football season on the weekend of October 24, after the conference voted unanimously to start this fall instead of waiting to hold a spring season. This decision was made as they feel more confident in the medical information we have now during the pandemic and how testing capabilities have improved.
  • They will play an eight-game season, and the Big Ten championship game will be held on December 19. As the decision to continue with a fall football season was announced, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Great News: BIG TEN FOOTBALL IS BACK. All teams to participate. Thank you to the players, coaches, parents, and all school representatives. Have a FANTASTIC SEASON! It is my great honor to have helped!!!”

6. AG Barr says to go after rioters


  • For months, rioters and “peaceful protesters” have wreaked havoc on American cities with almost no fear of consequences, but that may soon be coming to an end if prosecutors around the country listen to the advice of Attorney General William Barr.
  • With a goal of ending the lawlessness, Barr told prosecutors to start aggressively pursuing charges that carry actual penalties that will deter criminal activity. This includes charges for taking part in plots to overthrow the federal government.

5. Drop the act and pass a stimulus bill

  • After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that she intends to keep members in session until a coronavirus relief package is passed, there are now some moderate Democrats who are putting pressure on Pelosi to actually get something done. U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) said he believes Pelosi is playing games.
  • U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) is one of a few members who supported a plan for $1.5 trillion in coronavirus relief that was backed by 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans. Rose said that this measure “is bipartisan in nature.” He added, “It’s time for you to stop playing games. Let’s stop the charade. Let’s stop this stupidity. Let’s put the country first.”

4. Alabama students are largely asymptomatic

  • The media frenzy over the coronavirus cases at the University of Alabama seems to be over as the initial case spike is now over and encouraging trends appear to be setting in. Dr. Ricky Friend, the dean of UA’s College of Community Health Sciences believes there has not been “a measurable increase in cases resulting from Labor Day Weekend.”
  • Dr. Friend says the quarantine numbers are low, no students have been hospitalized, and that an overwhelming number of students tested on campus in Tuscaloosa are asymptomatic, which he added “is very much in line with data and trends we are seeing across the country.”

3. 16th Street bombing victim wants restitution

  • In a letter to Governor Kay Ivey, Sarah Collins Rudolph places the blame for the bombing on the state of Alabama, saying, “While the State of Alabama did not place the bomb next to the church, its Governor and other leaders at the time played an undisputed role in encouraging its citizens to engage in racial violence.”
  • Rudolph, who was 12 at the time and is now 69, is seeking money and a formal apology. She believes that the racial unrest in the country could help her receive what she is looking for from the state. She outlined, “To have my suffering acknowledged and to receive an apology for what happened to me would help bring a sense of closure. I truly hope Governor Ivey will do the right thing.”

2. Coronavirus vaccine available to the general public later next year

  • A dishonest debate in the media is raging over whether there will be a vaccine before the end of 2020. President Donald Trump says the vaccine is moving forward this year, possibly before the election. Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Robert Redfield attended a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing where he said that it will be “late second quarter, third quarter 2021” before a vaccine for the coronavirus is available to the general public.
  • The distinction is obvious. The first vaccinations will be available to some beginning in November or December of this year. Of course, the first vaccines will just be available to health care workers, essential employees, first responders and more vulnerable communities.

1. Some damage reported from Hurricane Sally

  • Alabama suffered heavy rain, flash flooding, power outages and at least one death from the onslaught of Hurricane Sally, which is slowly working its way across Alabama and into Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia with severe flooding and high winds expected.
  • Cleanup is underway, and search for gas and supplies goes on as the aftermath is revealed. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said, ” I am remaining in constant communication with local officials along our coastal areas, and I have assured them — as well as pledge to all Alabamians — that we will provide every resource possible from the state level in order to help folks recover in the days and weeks ahead. The Alabama National Guard is standing by to assist, as is the Alabama Department of Transportation, ALEA and every other state partner.  We are ready to respond however and wherever needed.”

1 week ago

7 Things: Mask order isn’t ending, attempted October surprise for Tuberville, slow-moving Sally makes landfall in Alabama and more …


7. No plans to extend curbside alcohol sales

  • The Alabama ABC has no plans to extend the current emergency order that authorizes to-go and curbside alcohol sales across the state, which expires Wednesday.
  • There haven’t been plans to extend the order because now, most restaurants and bars are allowed to open at half capacity. “[T]he need to provide emergency curbside service is no longer necessary,” government relations manager of the Alabama ABC Board Dean Argo said.

6. Jobs leaving Alabama


  • The FreightCar America manufacturing facility located in Cherokee, Alabama, will close and outsource 500 jobs to Castanos, Mexico, with the company saying this is being done to “consolidate.”
  • In a release, the company said that this facility closing and the jobs being outsourced “will further align costs and manufacturing capacity with the current realities of depressed railcar demand,” which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

5. Peace agreement signed

  • Wednesday, the peace deal known as the “Abraham Accords” was signed. President Donald Trump said while speaking at the White House, “After decades of division and conflict we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”
  • Trump, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the deal that will include, trade, tourism and security.

4. Pelosi will keep House in session to negotiate coronavirus relief

  • As pressure mounts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said that she intends to keep members in session until there’s an agreement met on a coronavirus relief package. She added there will be “an agreement that meets the needs of the American people.”
  • The priorities of another coronavirus relief package would be rental assistance, unemployment benefits, state and local government funding, and another round of stimulus checks. Proposals have already been made with the price tags of $3 trillion, $1 trillion and $300 billion.

3. Hurricane Sally makes landfall in Alabama

  • The slow-moving storm finally made landfall in Alabama as a Category 2 hurricane at 4:45 a.m., and according to National Hurricane Center, the storm could bring “historic and catastrophic flooding in parts of northwest Florida and southern Alabama.”
  • With rainfall expected to reach as high as 35 inches, schools and businesses in the path of Hurricane Sally are closed and major power outages have been reported. This could be an event that leads to loss of life.

2. October surprise attempt with Tuberville

  • An editor with Sports Illustrated, Mark Bechtel, contacted former Auburn football players in an attempt to get them to talk about former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville and his character.
  • Former Auburn linebacker Eltoro Freeman said that during his talk with Bechtel, he was “very disturbed” by what Bechtel was attempting to get players to say, but Freeman has continued to speak highly of Tuberville’s character and the kind of man he is, saying he’s “a man of true character, a man of the people – he loves all people.”

1. Ivey not ending the mask order anytime soon

  • Governor Kay Ivey has already extended the mask mandate through the state health order until at least October 2. Ivey’s office has been asked how long the mask mandate and other restrictions could last. The office said that there’s “not necessarily a magic number.”
  • Currently, the state is heading in the right direction with hospitalizations improving and in-class instruction returning for some schools. Ivey’s office said that the governor “hopes to see all of this in our rearview mirror sooner, rather than later.”

1 week ago

Auburn football names to know: New assistant coaches


Turnover is a big part of college football. Each season, a huge portion of every team leaves via graduation, transfer or for the NFL. However, changes that are often overlooked by fans happen on the coaching staff. It is big news if there is a head coaching change, but position coaches or coordinators moving on or coming in can get lost in the shuffle.

Continuity on a coaching staff allows more time to be spent on instruction, game-planning and recruiting instead of each member having to determine the best way to divvy up those responsibilities. Gus Malzahn has retained most of the men on the current staff for multiple years, and defensive line coach Rodney Garner and strength coach Ryan Russell have been on staff since 2013.


Today, we look at three men who are entering their first season on the Auburn Tigers’ coaching staff. The ability of these newcomers to interface well with the other coaches and get the most out of their respective position groups will have a huge say in how successful the Tigers are this year.

Buck/OLB coach – Al Pogue
Previous coaching jobs – Off the field coach at Auburn from 2011-2013, defensive backs coach at Troy 2014-2018, outside linebacker coach at West Virginia in 2019
Coach Pogue is no stranger to Auburn University or the state of Alabama. Before making the jump to the college ranks as an off the field staffer at Auburn, Al Pogue was a successful high school head coach at both St. Jude and Carver High School in Montgomery. The connections and experience he developed in Alabama high school football led to assisting Coach Malzahn before earning his first on the field coaching job at Troy University.

Al Pogue has been a defensive coach since moving to the college game and has been in charge of multiple positions on that side of the ball. At Auburn, Pogue is tasked with coaching the buck position, which is primarily a stand-up linebacker on the line of scrimmage that has major pass rush responsibilities.

If Auburn is going to replace much of the pass rush production that has moved on to the NFL from last year, the buck position is most likely where that will happen. As strong as the interior defensive line play has been, the buck position has not exhibited the same consistency in the last couple of seasons. If Pogue can develop TD Moultry, Derick Hall or anyone else from that group into a force off the edge, then that could be the key to Auburn having an elite defense in 2020.

Offensive line coach – Jack Bicknell, Jr.
Previous coaching jobs – coaching since 1985, Offensive line coach in NFL coach for multiple teams from 2009-2015, Offensive line coach at Ole Miss from 2017-2019
Jack Bicknell arrives at Auburn as one of the most experienced coaches on the entire staff. The wealth of experience at the highest level of football and the recent work in the SEC have Bicknell primed to get the most out of a position group that will be very green in 2020.

The 2019 offensive line was pretty widely maligned as a group that was unable to get much push in the running game. That is never a good sign, but with Malzahn’s heavy focus on running the football, it was an even bigger issue. In 2020, Auburn will have new starters at four of the five positions, so Bicknell’s ability to develop multiple new guys to play at a high level is going to be critical.

For Auburn to have a great offense this season, Jack Bicknell, Jr. must put together five guys capable of protecting Bo Nix and opening lanes for the Tigers’ tailbacks consistently this fall.

Offensive coordinator – Chad Morris
Previous coaching jobs – Texas high school football coach until 2009, offensive coordinator at Tulsa in 2010, offensive coordinator at Clemson from 2011-2014, head coach at SMU from 2015-2017, head coach at Arkansas from 2018-2019
Chad Morris’ coaching trajectory had been completely ascendant until his stint with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Morris’ career path is strikingly similar to his friend, and now head coach, Gus Malzahn. Coach Morris moved from legendary high school coach to college offensive coordinator to eventually become a head coach in the SEC.

However, the lack of success in two seasons for the Razorbacks made Morris available in December 2019. The opportunity for Chad Morris to reset and for Gus Malzahn to revamp his offense with the coach that he trusts the most presents a unique opportunity. If there is someone who Malzahn may trust to fully give the reigns of the offense over to, Chad Morris is that guy.

Possibly the biggest strength on Morris’ resume is the ability to develop quarterbacks and design an effective passing attack. If Chad Morris can accomplish that in 2020 by getting the most out of Bo Nix and a talented group of skill position players, that could be the key to unlocking a special offensive season for Auburn.

Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: or on Twitter @z_m_shaw

1 week ago

7 Things: Hurricane Sally intensifies, coronavirus surges globally as cases drop in U.S., Ivey prepares tourism push and more …


7. Athens returning to school early

  • Athens City Schools have pushed up their date for students to return to in-class learning due to the number of parents requesting that children go back to school to join other students in the classroom.
  • Originally, in-class instruction wasn’t meant to return until October 19, but now, elementary students will go back to class on September 28 and secondary students will return October 6.

6. Just tell us what isn’t racist


  • President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has put out a new ad against former Vice President Joe Biden. At the very end of the ad, Biden can be seen kneeling in front of black churchgoers. The text “stop Joe Biden and his rioters” then appears on the screen.
  • Due to the ending of the ad, it’s been called “overtly racist and offensive” by Reverend Silvester Beaman, who also said that it’s “a racist attack on the African American church,” but also the message “subtly incites white terrorism against people of color and attacks the Black Church and Black people for refusing to bow down to the idol called white supremacy.”

5. Ainsworth joining push for Census participation

  • Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) has joined Governor Kay Ivey in encouraging people in Alabama to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census before the deadline on September 30, reinforcing how important it is for the state.
  • Ainsworth said, “We’re looking at $13 billion [at stake]. We could potentially lose a congressional seat.” He also emphasized that the focus is “education, it’s healthcare, it’s about our road system. It’s a big deal.”

4. Ivey putting money toward tourism

  • Governor Kay Ivey announced $10 million of the CARES Act funding that Alabama received will be used in a new campaign to bring tourism to the state. According to Ivey, this is a way to help out the industry that’s been impacted by the pandemic.
  • Alabama Tourism Department Director Lee Sentell explained that the plan is to “generate a marketing campaign aimed at potential guests from outside the state.” Ivey said that she’s “pleased to award these well-deserved dollars to an industry that has been hurting so that people can feel confident that they can be safe when visiting Alabama destinations.”

3. China has a presence in Alabama schools

  • State Rep. Tommy Hanes (R-Bryant) has already attempted to bar Confucius Institutes from operating on publicly funded college campuses in Alabama. His bill failed, but Hanes is now concerned that the Chinese government-funded “institutes” are now moving from colleges to K-12 schools and wants that forbidden as well.
  • Hanes argues that the goal of this influence is “teach our young people to get them to believe Chinese communism is a different form of communism, and it’s not bad,” and not like the other attempts at communism that have failed under the guise of Chinese cultural enrichment education.

2. Coronavirus surges globally

  • As coronavirus cases and deaths in the United States slow, the rest of the world is seeing a bit of a surge with new record highs of cases in Spain and India, and now Israel, France, UK and Austria have re-imposed restrictions.
  • The United States is not in the clear by any stretch, but recent surges that have been seen on college campuses and elsewhere are starting to taper off.

1. Ivey issues State of Emergency as Hurricane Sally approaches

  • As the path of Hurricane Sally seems to track right over Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey announced a State of Emergency when the tropical storm was upgraded to a hurricane. Ivey closed down the state’s beaches at 3:00 p.m. on Monday.
  • Ivey said in her announcement, “We pray Sally doesn’t do any harm, but we must be prepared just in case.” She added that as the “governor, you have my assurance that every resource will be available if we need it. Be safe, Alabama.”

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Birx praises Alabama’s response to the coronavirus, former Speaker Hubbard reports to prison, more schools return to in-person classes and more …


7. Threat from Topical Storm Sally

  • As Tropical Storm Sally approaches land, Governor Kay Ivey is encouraging Alabamians to take caution. Ivey advised to “not take the threat lightly” as the storm is expected to bring in heavy rains, flooding and strong winds.
  • Tropical Storm Sally is expected to be a category 2 hurricane when it reaches South Alabama on Monday, and the Mobile Department of Health has reminded citizens to have an evacuation plan in place. Ivey also said that Alabamians should place storm safety over coronavirus concerns.

6. The NFL is back to protesting


  • The National Football League started their season and, predictably, much of the attention was on what happened during the pre-game ceremonies that continue to be a point of controversy for players and fans alike.
  • Some teams stood, some kneeled, some stayed in the locker room and, inexplicably, the Baltimore Ravens kneeled during the National Anthem and then stood for the playing of what is called the “Black National Anthem,” which basically proves the point that the kneeling is an intentional act of disrespect and not about unity.

5. Police officers ambushed in Los Angeles

  • Over the weekend, two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were shot. Authorities are still searching for the suspect in the shooting, but President Donald Trump is speaking out on the issue while also taking a jab at former Vice President Joe Biden, who finally condemned the shooter.
  • Trump spoke at a “Latinos for Trump event,” where he described the events in Los Angeles as “two police people – a woman, a man – shot at stone cold short-range.” He added that Biden isn’t “strong for law and order and everybody knows that.” Trump also said that when the suspect is found, “we’ve got to get much faster with our courts and we’ve got to get much tougher with our sentencing.”

4. Another week, another group of schools returns

  • Huntsville City Schools will be returning to in-person learning today on a staggered schedule, but the Huntsville Education Association has taken a survey of how well-prepared educators feel the Huntsville City Schools are to return.
  • According to the survey, 89% of respondents said that employees and facilities haven’t been prepared enough, somewhat through procedures and equipment, but the majority of employees who responded also said that they wish their concerns had been heard and addressed by leaders in the system.

3. Mike Hubbard has started serving his sentence

  • Over the weekend, former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard began his four-year prison sentence after reporting to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. His sentence is based on the six ethics violations he was convicted of.
  • Lance Bell, Hubbard’s attorney, has said that Hubbard maintains his “innocence and looks forward to exploring other options to clear his name.” There have also been indications that they could try to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

2. 65% drop in cases at UA

  • After seeing a couple of weeks of high coronavirus case numbers on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, the school is now reporting a 65% decrease in cases over the last week with only 294 new cases.
  • The quarantine space on campus is also only at 15%, which is down from 40% the week before. There are only 11 new cases at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and 27 new cases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

1. Men need to wear masks

  • Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, visited Alabama and spoke about how great the state and its flagship university’s response to the coronavirus has been, but she also made mention about more men needing to wear masks.
  • Birx said that as she’d traveled around the state, she “saw a lot of women wearing masks, but not all of the men of Alabama wearing masks.” She added a message to “the men of Alabama,” saying, “[Y]ou get this disease just as much as anyone else.”

2 weeks ago

VIDEO: Trump downplayed coronavirus, Alabama’s grasp on pandemic, Jones’ and Biden’s mission to ‘redeem’ Alabama and America on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Was President Donald Trump wrong for downplaying the coronavirus pandemic publicly, or was he trying to keep people calm?

— Does the lower number of new coronavirus cases in Alabama mean that the state has a handle on the issue?

— Do national Democrats and U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) run the risk of turning off voters with their dismissive language towards voters like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did in 2016?


Jackson and Handback are joined by the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections Jeff Dunn to discuss recent plans to build three new prisons, the impact of sentencing reform and more.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” aimed at those who claim voting is hard to do because of “voter suppression” by explaining how he voted in-person in Alabama over 50 days before the general election so you can, too.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.

2 weeks ago

7 Things: No additional coronavirus relief, students sanctioned over violations of coronavirus rules, Alabama has worst 2020 Census response and more …


7. NRA report cards are in

  • Former Auburn football coach and GOP U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Tuberville received the highest rating of “AQ,” which the NRA says is “A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate’s responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on the Second Amendment.”
  • By comparison, his opponent U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) was given a “D,” which is defined as “An anti-gun candidate who usually supports restrictive gun control legislation and opposes pro-gun reforms. Regardless of public statements, can usually be counted on to vote wrong on key issues.”

6. Trump is now going after Bob Woodward


  • After tapes of President Donald Trump telling Bob Woodward that he knew the coronavirus was fatal and airborne early on were leaked, Trump is now firing back. Trump has maintained that the reason why he downplayed the virus was to not cause a panic.
  • On Twitter, he said, “Bob Woodward had my quotes for many months. If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives? Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!”

5. CARES Act funding used for unemployment

  • Out of the $1.8 billion Alabama received through the CARES Act, at least $300 million will be used to fund the Unemployment Trust Fund. This was done to avoid taxes on businesses increasing.
  • House of Representatives General Fund budget chairman Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) has also said that there could be another $300 million put into the fund, since the “CARES Act allows us to put money in the unemployment trust fund up to what was taken out because of COVID unemployment.”

4. Relief funding for higher education

  • As announced by Governor Kay Ivey, $72.34 million in coronavirus relief will go to higher education in Alabama. Per the announcement, $27 million will go to community colleges, $25 million will go to four-year colleges, and $20 million go to independent colleges.
  • The funds are meant for helping the schools adapt to some virtual learning. So far, a total of $432 million has been spent on education in the state since July to make sure it can continue through the pandemic, but Ivey has said that her office continues to receive requests for aid.

3. Alabama lagging behind in the 2020 U.S. Census

  • The 2020 U.S. Census could impact Alabama severely if there’s an undercount, and now a report released by the United States House Oversight and Reform Committee has released a report that shows if Alabama has an undercount of 1%, there could be a loss of $39.7 million in federal funding every year.
  • The average response to the Census nationally is 88.8%, but Alabama has the worst response rate in the country at 79.8%. The deadline for the Census is quickly approaching on September 30.

2. Students facing sanctions over coronavirus

  • The University of Alabama has issued 639 “individual student sanctions” for violating coronavirus guidelines. Thirty-three students have been suspended from campus “while their conduct cases proceed through due process.”
  • There’s at least one student organization that’s potentially being suspended due to not following guidelines, and three organizations have received sanctions.

1. Coronavirus relief shut down by Democrats

  • After a proposed $500 billion in coronavirus relief was blocked by Democrats in the U.S. Senate, relief talks are stuck in limbo. Sixty votes were needed to pass, but the vote was 52-47 with U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) being the only Republican to vote “no.” Alabama’s junior Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) also voted “no.”
  • The relief package would’ve provided more funding to the Paycheck Protection Agency, $300 in additional unemployment benefits per week, and funding for schools and colleges.

2 weeks ago

Auburn football names to know: Quarterbacks


Quarterback is the most important position in team sports. To do the job well, the quarterback must know his assignment, make sure his 10 teammates on the field are lined up correctly, be aware of each offensive player’s task and have a good idea of what the defensive scheme is, too. Once all of that is accomplished, you actually have to snap the ball and execute the play that has been called.

Auburn returns its starting quarterback from 2019 but has a new quarterback coach and (apparent) play-caller in Chad Morris. Coach Morris will be tasked with enabling Bo Nix to take the leap from a serviceable SEC quarterback to a consistent difference-maker in his second season on The Plains. In addition to Nix, Auburn brought in transfers and high school players to bolster depth at the position.

Today, we look at the most productive returning player, a talented newcomer and a wildcard at the quarterback position. Due to the quarterback’s massive influence and impact on offensive success, the ability of Bo Nix to elevate his play and that of his teammates will be critical for Auburn to compete for the SEC championship.


Most productive returning player – Bo Nix, 10, So.
Key 2019 stats – 2542 yards passing, 58% completion percentage, 16 TDs, 7 INTs and 313 yards rushing, 7 TDs
Bo Nix had more big moments in his true freshman campaign than many players will have in their entire career. From his last-minute game-winning touchdown pass in the season opener against Oregon to the back-shoulder dime to Sal Cannella in the Iron Bowl, Nix proved he could deliver in the biggest of moments. Now, there were games between Oregon and Alabama where Nix was far from stellar, but his performance in 2019 earned him SEC Freshman of the Year honors from the conference’s coaches.

In 2020, the Auburn Tigers will lean on Nix even more heavily as the offense lost four starting offensive lineman and the team’s leading rusher along with the defense having four players drafted by the NFL. Having already played one season against the toughest competition that doesn’t kick off on Sundays, the Auburn quarterback must draw from that experience to navigate the upcoming unprecedented 10-game conference-only schedule successfully.

For Nix to move from SEC Freshman of the Year to SEC Player of the Year, he must find ways to complete a higher percentage of his passes, connect more frequently on deep passing attempts, and resolve to stay in the pocket longer before attempting to escape pressure. Expect Nix to improve in those areas and more simply from the experience of last year and the benefit of another year’s worth of working on his game. If Bo Nix can be a little more consistent with his throws and Chad Morris can scheme some easy completions each game, then Nix could be primed for a breakout season in 2020.

Talented newcomer – Chayil Garnett, 15, Fr.
Key 2019 stats – 2028 yards passing, 18 TDs as a junior, was only able to play in 8 games as a senior
Chayil Garnett is another member of the Tigers’ 2020 signing class that enrolled at Auburn in January. Even though the semester was cut short and there was no spring practice, the fact that Garnett was able to train at Auburn for a couple of extra months will pay dividends down the road. Another reason it was beneficial for Chayil to enroll early is that he missed several games of his senior season in high school due to injury. So, the ability to get more football-specific workouts and training from college coaches could only benefit his development.

Since Bo Nix is the returning starter and there are a couple of other older players in the quarterback position group, Garnett is not expected to be a major contributor this season. However, this is a great opportunity for Chayil to learn from accomplished coaches like Gus Malzahn and Chad Morris and to study the habits of experienced players like Bo Nix. If Garnett can do that this season, he will have a strong foundation built for when his number is called in the future.

Wildcard – Grant Loy, 14, Sr.
Key 2019 stats – 1137 passing yards, 6 TDs and 427 rushing yards, 4 TDs
Grant Loy is a graduate transfer from Bowling Green. Loy was the starter for the Falcons in 2019 and upon earning his undergraduate degree, took the opportunity to play quarterback at Auburn. Loy is a big, athletic player who served as a dual-threat quarterback in the MAC last season.

At Auburn, Loy is expected to be the back up to Bo Nix. Due to his size, it is at least possible that there could be some specific packages game-planned for Loy. Even if that is not the case, it is important for Loy to stay focused on learning the new offense and improving his skill set because of potential injury and the uncertainty of COVID-19 this season.

For other Auburn positional breakdowns:

Auburn football names to know: Offensive line

Auburn football names to know: Running backs

Auburn football names to know: Special teams

Auburn football names to know: Defensive backs

Auburn football names to know: Linebackers

Auburn football names to know: Defensive line

Auburn football names to know: Receivers, tight ends

Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: or on Twitter @z_m_shaw

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Voting started in Alabama, Trump downplayed coronavirus concerns in public, gas tax funding more roads and more …


7. The Big Ten still not ready for football

  • After a letter to the Big Ten conference was written and signed by statehouse leaders from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan arguing that college football can take place this fall safely, the conference has responded by saying they aren’t ready yet. 
  • The letter from the Big Ten reinforced that they’re following the science of the situation. The conference started, “Return to Competition Task Force is tapping into those resources as it prepares for a safe return to competition,” adding they will continue to “identify opportunities to resume competition as soon as it safe to do so.”

6. Pay raises in Huntsville


  • Despite cities and counties across Alabama facing budget cuts, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has introduced his city’s 2021 fiscal year budget, which would include a cost-of-living raise for employees, even though there have been $15 million in unexpected expenses for the city. 
  • Within the budget is funding for 369 part-time employees and 2,435 full-time employees. The city council will go over the full budget on September 15, but it is clear that Huntsville has fared better than most municipalities in the state.

5. Can’t do much about prison plan

  • Governor Kay Ivey has released her plan for three new prisons in the state, which has already gained criticism from some like State House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) who would like to see some prison reform, too.
  • State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) has said that there might not be much the legislature can do about Ivey’s plans, and instead suggested that those in the legislature “introduce a bill” if they want to get a vote on the issue. 

4. Alabama judges are on Trump’s shortlist

  • In the event of another U.S. Supreme Court seat becoming available, President Donald Trump has said that he will select a nominee from his already announced list of candidates. He recently added 20 more names to the list. 
  • On the list of candidates are two judges from Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom and U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Chief Judge Bill Pryor. 

3. More roads funded by the gas tax

  • There will be six road and bridge projects across the state funded by the gas tax, as announced by Governor Kay Ivey. These are the last projects to be funded by this year’s version of the Annual Grant Program as part of a $10 million expenditure.
  • The projects will total $1.5 million. In her announcement, Ivey said that when she “signed the Rebuild Alabama Act into law, I assured the people of Alabama that all areas of our state would see a benefit, and we are delivering on that promise.”

2. Trump was just trying to avoid panic

  • A new book by Bob Woodward says that President Donald Trump knew the severity of the coronavirus, but purposefully downplayed the situation in public. However, Trump has said that this book is “just another political hit job,” adding, “[Y]ou cannot show a sense of panic.”
  • Media darling and White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci has come to the president’s defense by saying, “I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything.” He continued, “I mean in my discussions with him, they were always straightforward about the concerns that we had. We related that to him. And when he would go out, I’d hear him discussing the same sort of things.”

1. Voting has started in every county in Alabama

  • Believe it or not, Alabama voters can go cast their votes in-person as of yesterday at county courthouses all over the state. The expected number of absentee ballots requested is expected to be as much as five times higher (150,000) than the 2016 election (31,000).
  • The benefits of voting via absentee ballot in-person are clear: you avoid the line on Election Day and you don’t have to worry about getting proof of identification into the envelope or finding witnesses to sign the envelope. There are drawbacks to it, however, including casting your ballot before the debates take place if you think you may change your mind.

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Doug Jones unsure as coronavirus relief battle rages, bars in Tuscaloosa reopen, Jones and Biden think Alabama must be redeemed and more …


7. Police chief and staff retire — This is becoming a trend

  • Due to criticism and protests over the handling of Daniel Prude’s death in March of this year, Rochester, NY Police Chief La’Ron Singletary has announced that he’ll be retiring and taking his senior command with him.
  • This is not only happening in Rochester. Resignations are happening all over, and there are other issues that will start to impact every community as members of law enforcement decide that they are not going to take proactive policing measures while choosing to react after crimes have already been committed. 

6. Voter issues from primary coming out


  • During the state’s primary on June 9, 1,000 people in Georgia voted twice, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. They did this by voting absentee and then voting in person, but the state will be pursuing charges against the voters. 
  • Raffensperger didn’t clarify if these votes changed the outcome of any races, but the voters were spread across 100 counties. While only 1,000 actually voted twice, about 150,000 voters showed up to vote in person after requesting an absentee ballot. 

5. Optimism and uncertainty on the rise with small businesses

  • The National Federation of Independent Business has released updated Optimism Index data from small businesses showing a 1.4% increase in August. This could be attributed to signs that a vaccine is in sight, even as the media and their Democrats attempt to downplay it.
  • While optimism has increased, there was also new data on the Uncertainty Index released showing a two-point increase in August, which is the highest it’s been since March 2017. NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said that they’re “seeing areas of improvement … but small businesses are still struggling and uncertain about what the future will hold.”

4. Tuberville has launched his first ad

  • The first television ad released by former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville takes aim at U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and presents him as a candidate that doesn’t actually represent his constituents.
  • In the ad, Tuberville brings up how Jones voted to impeach President Donald Trump, adding that Jones “supports open borders and gun grabbers.” The spot also mentions how Jones “wants to raise your taxes then use your money to pay for abortions.”

3. Jones will use any excuse to talk about Biden

  • During a campaign event in Leeds, Alabama, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) spoke about when he was first elected to the Senate in 2017 and how former Vice President Joe Biden had actually encouraged him to run for office.
  • Jones went on to imply that a large portion of Alabama voters and American voters need to be redeemed, saying, “We’ve got to redeem the soul of America.”He added that the evil people in America oppose him. He advised, “There’s not an evil person in this state who supports this campaign.”

2. Bars have reopened in Tuscaloosa

  • After being closed for two weeks due to crowds from the University of Alabama, bars in Tuscaloosa are allowed to reopen. More recently, the university has seen a decrease in new coronavirus cases and no increased strain on the local medical system.
  • Bar owners have voiced opposition to the closure, saying that it’s been hurting their businesses. There’s continued criticism that if bars reopen, coronavirus cases will spread at a rapid rate again, but there have been 11,000 cases and zero hospitalizations in 17 states across the country showing the illness is of little risk to college students.

1. Democrats are playing games with coronavirus relief

  • Negotiations over a new coronavirus relief package continue, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that Democrats are playing “Goldilocks games” by refusing to pass a bill until it’s just right.
  • McConnell added that leaders have “complained” about every proposal made. He said, “But they’ve produced nothing of their own with any chance whatsoever of becoming law.” Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) has no idea if he supports the bill or not, saying, “I don’t know what’s in it, so I can’t say.”

2 weeks ago

Auburn football names to know: Receivers, tight ends


Last season, Auburn attempted more passes than any season in over a decade. The high volume of pass attempts was somewhat surprising since head coach Gus Malzahn had a true freshman starter at quarterback. The Tigers are now likely to throw even more in 2020 now that returning starter Bo Nix has a year of experience under his belt. That means that the Auburn receivers and tight ends should have many chances to showcase their skills this fall.

This season, the Tigers return their three leading pass catchers from 2019 in Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove. These productive returning players, along with some exciting newcomers, should give first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris some great options to target in the passing game.


Today, we look at the most productive returning player, a talented newcomer and a wildcard from among the receivers and tight ends. The number of big plays these athletes deliver will help determine how explosive the Auburn offense can be in 2020.

Most productive returning player – Seth Williams, 18, Jr.
Key 2019 stats – 59 receptions, 830 yards, 8 TDs
Seth Williams has a chance to be the highest drafted Auburn receiver since the turn of the century. Williams has great size for his position and excels at making contested catches in tight coverage. He has shown the ability to produce against SEC competition since his true freshman season in 2018.

Last year, he scored the go-ahead touchdown reception in the waning seconds against Oregon to kick off the season and was Bo Nix’s favorite target for the rest of the year. Williams missed a little bit of action in 2019 due to an injury, but he was the focal point of the offense when on the field.

In 2020, Williams could be the biggest beneficiary of Chad Morris’ rumored re-vamped passing attack. Potential changes in the passing game combined with Williams trimming a few pounds to become more of a down the field threat could work together to produce a monster season for Williams. If Seth Williams has improved his speed even slightly and Coach Morris can bring some creative concepts to get Williams some easy catches, then expect an All-SEC campaign this year.

Talented newcomer – Brandon Frazier, 87, Fr.
Key 2019 stats- Texas HS district champion- 40 receptions, 879 yards, 7 TDs
Brandon Frazier was one of the first recruiting targets that Chad Morris pursued once named offensive coordinator in December. Frazier might stand out to Auburn fans for a few reasons. First of all, he is really big — listed at 6-7 and 270 lbs. Second, Frazier is from Texas, which is not one of Auburn’s traditional recruiting areas. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, Brandon Frazier plays tight end.

Many Auburn fans have lamented the lack of a tight end being used in Gus Malzahn’s offensive attack. Chad Morris’ arrival on The Plains may point to a change of philosophy in personnel usage going forward. Morris’ history and early reports from fall camp seem to indicate that the tight end position will have a greater impact in this year’s offense.

If that is the case, Brandon Frazier is likely to have a role in the offense even as a true freshman. Frazier is a big athlete that played with a mean streak in high school. His size and catching ability can make him a match-up problem for opposing defenses right away. If Frazier can learn the offense quickly and be an effective blocker, expect to see the freshman play an important part for the offense this fall.

Wildcard – Anthony Schwartz, 1, Jr. 
Key 2019 stats – 41 receptions, 440 yards, 1 TD and 11 carries, 118 yards, 2 TDs
Most people who have watched an Auburn game on television the last couple of years probably know that Anthony Schwartz is extremely fast. Broadcast teams mention Schwartz’s world-class speed and sprinting career on a regular basis. In his two seasons playing for the Tigers, Schwartz has shown flashes of that game-breaking speed in several games. He has scored on reverses, speed sweeps, deep routes and even turning a short reception into a long touchdown by running away from defenders.

Schwartz has been an effective weapon, but it seems like there is another level that Schwartz can rise to in order to reach his full potential. Last season, Anthony battled several injuries which caused him to miss a number of games, and appeared to get somewhat pigeon-holed to specific responsibilities in the offense when on the field.

Schwartz is healthy this pre-season and looks to be someone who could benefit from some tweaks to the passing game in 2020. If Schwartz can just remain healthy, expect to see the man his teammates call “Flash” deliver explosive plays this fall.

For other Auburn positional breakdowns:

Auburn football names to know: Offensive line

Auburn football names to know: Running backs

Auburn football names to know: Special teams

Auburn football names to know: Defensive backs

Auburn football names to know: Linebackers

Auburn football names to know: Defensive line

Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: or on Twitter @z_m_shaw

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Alabama college campus coronavirus numbers improving, Trump continues to push hope on vaccines as top Democrats hint they won’t take it, Alabama’s new prison construction has opponents and more …


7. Latest stimulus talks fail

  • The elected leaders of both chambers of Congress seem to be ready to pass another continuing resolution, but it appears they are unable to come to an agreement on another round of stimulus funding that could include checks to American citizens, expanded unemployment benefits of $600 per week and an eviction moratorium
  • One of the many hangups is providing liability protection for businesses to head off a mountain of frivolous lawsuits and the impact on America’s debt, which seems to be getting lipservice from all sides.

6. Harris “proud” of Jacob Blake


  • During her visit to Wisconsin, Democratic vice presidential nominee U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) met with Jacob Blake, the black man who was shot in the back seven times by police. After meeting with Blake and his family, Harris said that “they’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders” and reportedly told the suspected rapist that she was “proud of him.”
  • Harris also encouraged the family to continue to advocate “to help America make progress to end systemic racism.” This was Harris’ first campaign event by herself as her party’s VP nominee.

5. Former aide for General John Kelly says Trump didn’t denigrate troops

  • As the media spent the holiday weekend touting even more unnamed sources saying Trump said unforgivable things about America’s fallen soldiers, there were many going on the record refuting the comments, including Zach Fuentes, a top aide to former Chief of Staff John Kelly, who denies Atlantic story. He stated, “I don’t know who the sources are. I did not hear POTUS call anyone losers when I told him about the weather. Honestly, do you think General Kelly would have stood by and let ANYONE call fallen Marines losers?”
  • This denial from a member of Gold Star father Kelly’s staff isn’t the only one that caught the media establishment off-guard. Author of one the countless anti-Trump books and new media darling former National Security Advisor John Bolton says the reporting is “simply false,” adding, “I don’t know who told the author that, but that was false.”

4. No guns allowed at protests in Alabama

  • As a protest was held in downtown Huntsville over the weekend, a man by the name of Scott Christopher showed up to counter-protest but was then arrested for public intoxication and possession of a firearm at a demonstration.
  • The protest was against the Memorial Preservation Act, which is the statewide law that’s kept the Confederate monument outside of the Madison County Courthouse. The protest was one of many that have taken place in Huntsville that has drawn little attention and even less movement on the issue. 

3. No prison construction without reform?

  • During Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” State House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) shared his thoughts on the three new prisons proposed by Governor Kay Ivey, saying that the overall plans still don’t deal with the issues within the prison system. 
  • Daniels isn’t opposed to the new construction, but he thinks “our system is broken, all the way down to the pardons and parole piece.” He added that he’s “not in support of construction without reform coming ahead.”

2. Coronavirus numbers improving on college campuses

  • The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (UA) have released their latest numbers on new coronavirus cases, and the numbers are moving in the right direction. 
  • UAB only had 19 students test positive in the last week, UAH had seven students, and UA had 846 students test positive. Even with UA still reporting somewhat high numbers, they are improving from previous weeks. 

1. Trump doubling down on vaccine expectations

  • Despite doubts, President Donald Trump has doubled down on the claim that there could be a “very safe and effective” coronavirus vaccine by the end of October, adding that with his administration, “we’ll produce a vaccine in record time.”
  • Trump said that there could be “a very big surprise coming up” He went on to say that Democrats should “apologize for the reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric,” while Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris suggests she won’t take a vaccine if it comes under a Trump administration.

3 weeks ago

VIDEO: Saban and Alabama football lead social justice march, Barry Moore loses endorsement after supporting Kyle Rittenhouse, high school football game postponed over inappropriate social media posts and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Alabama Democratic Executive Committee member Lisa Handback take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— How will Alabamians view the social justice march that was led by Nick Saban and his football team on campus in Tuscaloosa?

— Was the Alabama AFL/CIO justified in pulling its endorsement from GOP congressional candidate Barry Moore over his support of Kyle Rittenhouse?

— Should a footballl game in North Alabama have been postponed because a few students, not football players, made inappropriate social media posts?


Jackson and Handback are joined by U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) to discuss the 2020 election, future coronavirus stimulus and more.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” aimed at the campaigns of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville, who are starting to ramp up their TV spending with ads about personality and national issues.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Alabama preparing for a vaccine, new prison sites presented by Ivey, unemployment declines again and more …


7. Joe Biden follows Trump to Wisconsin

  • After demanding that President Donald Trump not go to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and attacking him for going there, former Vice President Joe Biden went to the city to meet with Jacob Blake’s anti-Semitic father and then held a campaign event where he took scripted questions, although his campaign denied that was the case.
  • This was undoubtedly a campaign stop for Biden as he continues to see the shifting polls and momentum forcing him out of his basement and back on the campaign trail as the economy is recovering, Democratic mayors and governors are losing control of their cities and a coronavirus vaccine seems possible.

6. Alabama cities are cutting budgets


  • The City of Decatur is the latest city to cut its budget due to losses in the coronavirus pandemic. Decatur is cutting its budget by $3.9 million. The current budget proposal would be for $65 million, cutting 5% in city departments with the Decatur Police Department being cut by close to $1 million.
  • Decatur is not alone. Birmingham has seen a $63 million dollar shortfall and already implemented cuts that included paycuts. furloughs and not filling new positions while Montgomery is in a similar situation, as well. 

5. Unemployment claims in Alabama and beyond continue to decline

  • The Alabama Labor Department announced that last week there were 7,823 initial unemployment claims, which is a 9.8% decrease from the previous week, and one of the lowest weeks of claims since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic with only 4,404 of the claims, or about 56%, due to the pandemic.
  • Nationally, the unemployment rate has fallen below 10% for the first time since the pandemic started wreaking havoc on the economy, but the United States is still 11.5 million jobs below its pre-pandemic job numbers with new losses still happening while furloughed or temporarily laid-off employees return to work.

4. Former State Sen. David Burkette arrested

  • Attorney General Steve Marshall has announced that former State Senator David Burkette (D-Montgomery) has been arrested for violating a state campaign finance law, which comes just a few days after Burkette resigned.
  • The charges are for allegedly depositing $3,625 of campaign funds into a personal bank account when the funds were supposed to be deposited into a campaign account. This is from 2015 and 2016 when Burkette was a candidate for Montgomery City Council.

3. Prison sites announced

  • The sites for three new men’s prisons in the state have been announced by Governor Kay Ivey. The new sites would be in Escambia, Bibb and Elmore counties, and now the private developer teams will be negotiating with the Department of Corrections on the projects.
  • In a news release, Ivey said that this program “is vital for the long-term success of our state and communities.” She added that she’s “pleased with the integrity of this procurement process thus far and look forward to continuing to work closely with the legislature as we comprehensively address this intricate and important issue that affects us all.”

2. The media and their Democrats don’t seem to want a vaccine

  • While on CBS, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that trying to imply that politics are a motive in developing and approving the coronavirus vaccine is “irresponsible.” He added that they “already have a significant challenge in this country with vaccine hesitancy.” 
  • Azar went on to emphasize that if a vaccine is released, it’s “going to meet FDA’s gold standard for authorization or licensure,” and that the target date announced was determined by those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and “has nothing to do with elections.”

1. Alabama needs to start preparing for vaccines

  • Governor Kay Ivey and other governors across the United States have been notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they need to begin the process for getting vaccine distribution sites set up, with CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield asking that the permit and licenses for sites be fast-tracked.
  • This is being done with the intention for distribution sites to be operational by November 1. The CDC has said that this is “expected to be a public health effort of a significant scale” and will possibly involve “hundreds of millions of vaccine doses.”

3 weeks ago

Auburn football names to know: Running backs


Some of the greatest and most iconic players in Auburn history have been running backs. Under Gus Malzahn, running backs have been vital because of his strong preference to run the football. Once JaTarvious “Boobie” Whitlow, the team’s leading rusher the past two seasons, decided to transfer this offseason, it opened a competition for a new starter at the position.

Running backs coach Cadillac Williams has done a nice job of assembling a group of backs that are all talented but vary in primary skill sets. The variance in players’ size, speed and experience makes it difficult to predict who will be the main ball carriers this season.


Today, we look at the most productive returning player, a talented newcomer, and a wildcard at the running back position. The production of these players will have a huge impact on Auburn’s success in 2020.

Most productive returning player – D.J. Williams, 3, So.
Key 2019 stats – 84 carries, 400 yards rushing, 2 TDs
D.J. Williams played a key role as the backup tailback for Auburn in 2019 as a true freshman. He finished last season second in rushing yards and third in carries for the Tigers. Throughout the season, Williams proved to be capable of breaking tackles, protecting the football and gaining tough yards.

His biggest moment of the year was a 70-yard breakaway run against LSU. His greatest involvement was 24 carries in a win against Ole Miss. Williams was able to provide important depth at tailback throughout 2019, but will likely have to take a step forward to be the feature back in 2020.

Williams showed good consistency last year but didn’t flash quite as much big-play ability last season as star tailbacks in the SEC display. If D.J. Williams was able to use the offseason to become just a half-step faster with a little more burst, he may become the workhorse of the Auburn backfield this year.

Talented newcomer – Tank Bigsby, 4, Fr.
Key 2019 stats- Under Armour All-American, 1636 yards rushing, 27 TDs
Tank Bigsby is the most highly heralded running back Auburn has signed since Michael Dyer. The true freshman from LaGrange, GA, enrolled at Auburn in January with the hopes of making an impact right away in 2020. With the unexpected departure of Boobie Whitlow, there are a lot of carries now available that Bigsby hopes to take.

What stands out about Bigsby is that he has the size to run between the tackles and the speed to run away from most defenders. He played in a smaller division of Georgia high school football, but the vision, decisiveness and acceleration he displayed are likely to translate to success in college. Another strength of his game is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. If that is something that Chad Morris wants to do more of this year, that could be an additional way for Bigsby to make plays.

There is no doubt that Bigsby will be in contention for carries this year, but he will have to prove his ability to protect the ball, pass block and other small things that often get overlooked in order to be the starter as a freshman. If Bigsby can master the small details of the position quickly, it may be a few years before Auburn has anyone else start at running back.

Wildcard – Mark-Antony Richards, 21, RFr.
Key 2019 stats- N/A, redshirt due to injury
Mark-Antony Richards arrived on the Plains from Wellington, FL, with rave reviews from recruiting analysts and even the Auburn head coach himself. When Richards signed with Auburn in 2019, Malzahn compared him to Kerryon Johnson … except a little bigger. If that is what Richards turns out to be, then Auburn fans should be excited.

Richards was forced to redshirt last season because of injuries but has been one of the most talked-about athletes by other players on the team this pre-season. His long, lean build and fluid athleticism is what draws the comparison to former All-SEC performer Kerryon Johnson. Another similarity between the two is the ability to catch the football much better than an average running back.

As long as Richards has fully recovered from his injuries, then there is no doubt he will factor into the plans for the Auburn backfield in 2020. If Richards can stay healthy and translate his performance from the practice field to the game field, then expect to see a new game-changer for the Tigers this season.

For other Auburn positional breakdowns:

Auburn football names to know: Offensive line

Auburn football names to know: Special teams

Auburn football names to know: Defensive backs

Auburn football names to know: Linebackers

Auburn football names to know: Defensive line

Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers. You can contact him by email: or on Twitter @z_m_shaw

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Racial social media post causes high school football game to be canceled, Alabama schools continue to deal with coronavirus, vaccine could be ready next month and more …


7. Pelosi set up?

  • After visiting a salon in San Francisco, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) received criticism on social media for going to the salon while also not wearing a mask during her time at the establishment.
  • Pelosi publicly addressed the issue and took “responsibility for falling for a setup.” She went to the salon on Monday, but salons in the area weren’t allowed to open until Tuesday. Pelosi added, “When they said they were able to accommodate people one person at a time, I trusted that.”

6. Biden is plagiarizing again


  • After President Donald Trump visited the area of protests and riots on Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden plan to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday. It will be Biden’s first visit to the state this year after saying President Trump shouldn’t have gone there.
  • Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign said in a news release that “Biden will hold a community meeting in Kenosha to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face,” adding that the Bidens “will make a local stop.”

5. Biden keeps changing positions

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden previously advocated for a national mask mandate as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but more recently, he walked back those statements by saying that a national mask mandate wouldn’t be possible. Biden said he would put pressure on “every governor, every senator … every mayor, every county executive, every local official, and everyone in business.”
  • Additionally, Biden is now ready to get kids back to school and wants everyone to know that not only has he been in favor of this all along, but he is also now claiming without evidence that it is actually President Donald Trump that is causing schools to be closed.

4. Alabama the worst state to work in during a pandemic?

  • According to new data released by Oxfam America, Alabama is ranked as the worst state to work in during a pandemic, with the survey focusing on healthcare protections, unemployment support and worker protections, so coronavirus ravaged states like Washington, California and New Jersey are apparently wonderful places to be.
  • Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia were also included in the rankings, so Alabama placed at 52 overall, but the state placed at 48 in worker protections, 49 in healthcare protections and at 52 in unemployment services.

3. A vaccine could be ready in late October

  • States have been advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to start preparing to distribute the first vaccine for the coronavirus, possibly coming in late October or early November. The first round of vaccines would go to national security personnel, health care professionals and essential workers.
  • It’s expected that more vaccines for the public could be made available by January 2021, which lines up with previous statements from Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Dr. Anthony Fauci.

2. Alabama schools getting some help on coronavirus

  • Governor Kay Ivey has announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be sending over 2.4 million reusable masks for the schools and colleges in Alabama.
  • Auburn University is experiencing a coronavirus spike after having just over 500 new coronavirus cases last week. A spokesperson for the school said that 67% of quarantine/isolation beds on campus are now full with 74 of the 225 on-campus beds available, but there are still off-campus beds available.

1. High school football game moved over racism

  • The rivalry game between two Huntsville City Schools has been delayed over racial social media posts that Superintendent Christine Finley said were unacceptable but in a letter to parents, she made it clear the postponement of the games was not punishment. “Instead, this postponement allows us to ensure the game environment later this month will be safe and serve as an opportunity for Huntsville and Grissom high schools to address the issues that these social media posts present,” she advised.
  • Reporting indicates that the posts were made by one student who is not on the football team. The student reportedly shared images of the George Floyd situation with Huntsville High represented by the police and Grissom High represented by the now-deceased George Floyd. The game is now scheduled for September 24.